Soused rainbow trout with pink peppercorns and lemon zest

Meat-free January has been well and truly scuppered by the opening of the #MEATEASY. I’m still trying to plug the gaps though, what few of them there are, with fish and vegetables. In the absence of mackerel in the fishmonger on Saturday, I was looking around for something else to souse; the monger advised me to try these pretty rainbow trout – a good price at £7 for three, yielding 6 healthy-sized fillets.

Although by sousing you are effectively cooking the fish by pickling it, I’d heard that different types of fish can carry parasites, which are usually killed by heat. Tales of tapeworms started to freak me out. I called the fishmonger. He told me that with wild trout it would be a concern but as these were farmed and fairly small, they wouldn’t have had a chance to catch any parasites; I didn’t have to worry about breaking my meat-fast too early. If you’re still worried or you’re using wild trout though, freezing the fish first will kill off any unwanted extra protein.

For the sousing liquid: pink peppercorns, coriander seed, lemon zest and spring onion. I used to think pink peppercorns were just wanky show-boating, until I bought a bag and realised that the flavour is really unique; perfumed, almost rosy. Less heat than their black relatives but way more aromatic.

The trout ends up with a delicious sweet and sour flavour, like a posh roll mop and the flesh firms during sousing yet keeps that wonderful silken feel of raw fish. We ate it with a sweet cucumber salad and I’d love to try it with some roasted cherry tomatoes. I can see myself doing a lot of sousing actually, it ticks all the January boxes: healthy (tick!); cheap (tick!); easy (tick!). Win.

Soused rainbow trout

3 small rainbow trout, scaled and filleted (you can use another fish, but make sure to use an oily one)
350ml good quality white wine vinegar
50g sugar
2 bay leaves (fresh if possible; I had to use dried since my tree died in the snow)
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 good hefty pinches pink peppercorns
2 spring onions, cut into short lengths
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

Put all the marinade ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil. Leave to cool and check for tartness, you may want more sugar in which case add some and heat again.

Wash the fish fillets, pat them dry then arrange them in a shallow dish in one layer. Once the sousing liquid is completely cool, pour it over the fish making sure they are completely submerged. Cover and leave for 24 hours in the fridge.

Category: Fish, Pickles | Tags: , , , , , , , , 23 comments »

23 Responses to “Soused rainbow trout with pink peppercorns and lemon zest”

  1. Ollie

    Looks totally, utterly delicious.

  2. Vintage Macaroon

    Ahh they look good. I have been wanting to give soused fish a go for a while. Sounds so easy too.

  3. Lizzie

    Look at those colours! I love pickled fish but have never tried it myself; was the inspiration for this from that dish you had at Franklins?

  4. oliver

    Wow this looks great.

    Can I ask – what is the texture like of the fish when done – does it feel ‘cooked’ in the mouth or more like ceviche or cured fish?

  5. Clare

    Well, I’ve never heard of sousing before. I’d love to try this. What’s the taste and texture like?

  6. Su-Lin

    Never tried soused but I do love an escabeche where the fish is fried before soaking. Looks good though! Where did you buy your pink peppercorns? I remember seeing them a lot with fish in Finland.

  7. Kavey

    That top photo is soooo beautiful it darn near took my breath away.

  8. Mzungu

    Sousing fish is fantastic. I used to souse a lot of mackerel in the restaurants. Sold like hot cakes. Shame you rarely see it these days.

  9. Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen

    That is a beautiful looking piece of fish!

  10. LexEat!

    Wow it sounds like you’re going crazy for pink peppercorns at the moment!

    What a beautiful photo that first one is!

  11. Ed

    So pretty and original. A great idea. Nice one

  12. Helen

    Lizzie – Well I think I ordered the mackerel at Franklins because I wanted to get some inspiration for my sousing but I remember it being a bit disappointing if I’m honest. Sorry Franklins!

    Oliver – well as I said it’s somewhere in between. It’s still silky like raw fish but firm to the bite.

  13. Kerri

    Looks delicious and seems like a great alternative to meat too with it being firm in texture.

    I’ve not tried pickling fish but I must give it a go, Stephen adores the stuff.

  14. KSalty

    Looks beautiful Helen x

  15. Chris

    God this looks amazing. And the colours in that pan too! Here’s a thing too – try pink peppercorns raw as a pre-dinner nibble. They’re great!

  16. The Grubworm

    This looks tasty, healthy and beautiful. What a top combo. It’s really interesting to hear that about pink peppercorns, because I’ve always wondered how they different to the regular ones. Now I know, and they don’t half add to the overall appearance of the dish.

  17. Robert

    Looks very good and I must try this. As my new year resolution is to experiment with new ideas and techniques. Should be easy as I already cure salmon in a beetroot marinade.

  18. msmarmitelover

    Lovely! And I like pink peppercorns.

  19. Tv Food and Drink

    I love your pics in general, but these are exceptionally interesting. The food looks so delicately put together and your presentation is terrific. Plus, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of pink peppercorn. – Gary

  20. Jonathan

    You forgot to add very attractive to your checklist. The photos are stunning. Might give this a try with artic char. Nice.

  21. Peter Mabbott

    Brilliant. A little something for me to try at the weekend.

  22. gerald

    Tried this with two rainbow trout, circa 1lb 6oz, that I’d caught recently. Did not turn out as I had expected. Flesh very firm and did not separate from skin . They were more like gravadlax or very firm smoked salmon in texture so I sliced them thinly and used them in sandwiches and salads. Quite a sharp taste but my wife, who dislikes vinegar, enjoyed them.

  23. Helen

    Hiya yeah, the texture of mine was quite firm, too. Glad your wife enjoyed them though!

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